Name from the Hat

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An 'empathy hack' retro that forces team members to think of things from others' perspectives.

Length of time:

60 minutes.

Short Description:

By the simple process of selecting a colleague's name from a hat, team members are encouraged to put themselves in their colleagues' shoes and view the world from a different perspective. By evaluating the team's efforts through the eyes of another, they are better able to assess their own performance and that of the team.


Hat, post-its, flipchart/whiteboard, pens


- 1. Each team member puts their name on a Post-It note and throws it into a hat. (1-2 minutes)

- 2. With the hat full, each person draws one Post-It out. (1 minute)

- 3. From the perspective of the person they drew from the hat, each participant writes two to three answers on separate Post-Its, to the following questions: (1) “What went well?” and (2) “What could have been better?” (5 mins)

- 4. In turn, each person places their 'stickies' on a board divided into two, each half dedicated to the above two questions, not mentioning the person from whom's perspective they were writing. (5-10 mins)

- 5. After the participant has placed all their stickies on the board, they ask the rest of the team "Guess Who?" (5-10 mins)

- 6. Once someone guesses correctly the person represented by the stickies, the person revealed gets to validate, disagree or add any comments to complete the picture. (5-10 mins)

- 7. When everybody has been represented on the board, cluster the Post-Its into common themes. (5 mins)

- 8. Translate these clusters into actionable tasks with owners. (5-10 mins)